Back in 2012, roughly 1.3 million people (that’s 55 percent of the vote) voted to legalize the use of recreational marijuana in Colorado. In doing this, Colorado became the frontrunner for turning a stigmatized practice into something that would be extremely valuable: the improvement of the schools.
In January of 2014, the law went into effect. The law stated that the first $40 million earned from the sales tax on recreational marijuana would help in the construction of Colorado’s poor public school buildings.
What’s interesting, is that the model was taken from a similar set up in California, where schools are funded through something that used to be so taboo, lotteries.
Will a similar situation happen over time if marijuana becomes legalized?
In the last year alone, Colorado was able to pull in around $200 million in tax revenue after a $1.3 billion revenue in marijuana sales.
“This money is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Mason Tvert, the Marijuana Policy Project’s Denver-based communications director. “The state received nearly $200 million in marijuana tax revenue, whereas just a decade ago it was receiving zero.”
So how do people feel about “drug money” helping out the schools?
On the one hand, obviously, it was a thrill that the money is being put back into the school systems. On the other hand, there’s still the lingering idea that in schools it is going to cause conflict when teaching anti-drug campaigns because of how the construction of the school was funded.
Everyone is taught from a young age, and it’s emphasized in schools, that drugs are bad and should be avoided. So, if different schools are being funded by drug money, but are teaching drug-free programs, there seems to be a bit of an issue there, doesn’t it?
Here’s the thing though. These are only concerns of citizens outside of Colorado. The majority of people in Colorado are recognizing the marijuana tax money as just more tax money. Is that how it should be?
Thus far, Massachusetts, Washington, Colorado, California, Nevada, Oregon, Alaska, and Maine have all legalized the use of recreational marijuana.
Illinois, Michigan, Montana, Arizona, New Mexico, North Dakota, Minnesota, Arkansas, Louisiana, Hawaii, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island have all legalized the use of medical marijuana.
How long do we think then that it will be until it is a legal activity nationwide?
Will it follow the same suit as gambling?
Should we at least make sure that the use of the taxes is for something extremely beneficial?